New Delhi: On Saturday, 19th of November, the Chief Justice of India, D.Y Chandrachud, said that junior lawyers should be paid decent salaries by the senior lawyers so that the legal profession should not become just an old boys club.
Justice DY Chandrachud insisted that the senior members of the bar association should give juniors an appropriate salary, particularly in large cities, so they may live lives of integrity. He said that senior attorneys shouldn’t treat their less experienced colleagues like slaves simply because they had had to pick up the law on their own when they first entered the profession.
When The Topic Came Up Earlier
Earlier in September also, the same topic came up. A constitution bench was debating a number of petitions questioning the legality of the All-India Bar Examination when the topic of appropriately compensating junior attorneys came up.
At that time, the Delhi High Court had also requested that senior attorneys give their juniors a “dignified stipend“. The high court said that observing that it would be sufficient to help junior lawyers get through difficult financial times.
According to a survey, the lawyers with less than 2 years of experience at the bar hardly even earn Rs. 10000 per month. Not just this, more than 80% of lawyers believe that the income of lawyers in the first 2 years is somewhere between Rs. 5000 to 20000.
What Led Justice Chandrachud To This Thought?
He expressed his thoughts while speaking during a ceremony by the Bar council for him after assuming the role of Chief Justice of India recently. He noted that times have changed, and it is now challenging to exist in major cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, or Mumbai without a respectable salary.
He requested that the seniors quit treating their juniors in the same manner that they had been handled at the beginning of their careers. And added that the junior lawyers should be paid decent salaries. He further said that it was the old ragtag principle at the University of Delhi.
According to justice Chandrachud, individuals who were ragged always ragged those who were lower than them as a means of spreading the experience of being ragged. He stated that it occasionally used to get really awful. However, he believes that seniors nowadays cannot claim to have learned the law the hard way, and that’s why paying their juniors less is their way of expressing their frustration.
He said that families at that time used to be smaller and different and had family resources. And, so many young lawyers who could have reached the top never did for the simple reason that they had no resources.
Hardships Faced By Young Lawyers
CJI DY Chandrachud claimed that a young attorney relocating to a big city from another area would need to find housing, make transit arrangements, pay rent, and purchase food.
He further added that even their offices, where they are compensated, are not provided for the young attorneys. Justice Chandrachud believes that senior professionals like them have a responsibility to alter all this because it needs to.
The Legal Industry Is An Old Boys’ Club
According to the CJI, the legal industry is an “old boys’ club” where prospects are exclusively granted to a select few individuals inside a system. He feels that prospects in the chambers of Senior Advocates are obtained through a connection and referred to it as an old boys’ club, which is not based on merit.
Justice Chandrachud noted that the brightest minds are entering the legal profession thanks to the establishment of National Law Schools. Hence, he stated that it is their duty to keep young people’s faith alive and to prevent their abandonment.
Changes Required In The Legal Sector
CJI Chandrachud also underlined the importance of exposing the legal practice to all societal groups and eradicating it from its present patriarchal and caste-based paradigm.
He also brought up the method of junior recruitment that is typical in the legal sector. According to him, it is unusual for juniors in their field to meet elders through a loose network that is an “old boys’ club. But, he added that things should not be this way and that junior lawyers should be paid decent salaries and should be treated with dignity.